NICHOLE’S STORY: COMING OUT IN A SMALL QLD TOWN
By Nichole Conolly
I am 29, have Asperger’s, live in a small Queensland town and am gay. Coming out isn’t easy but one way I deal with things is to write about how I feel.
I find writing a way to release feelings as if I am sending smoke to the sky and, if only for a while, forgetting all of the negative feelings and fears.
It doesn’t mean they are gone forever and sometimes they come back even stronger. You have to be ready for it but you can’t let it consume you.
When I turned twenty one, I had a boyfriend. He was a sweet guy and has since married. We met at a church youth group. The scariest thing for me is that it was here at the church group that I first felt myself developing feelings for other women. That was where I started getting mixed feelings.
I was heavily involved in church and church run organisations, and because of this, my early writing never included gay couples as I thought it was wrong and unnatural despite close family friends being gay.
Seeing girls change was hard and I remember at a camp one of the other women caught me looking, though it went over my head. In another incident there is a photo where it looks like I am checking out another lady, complete with awkward comment from another person. I left it there because I didn’t want to confirm to others that I am gay.
When I first told one church organisation that I thought I was bi, the directors of the group questioned me and haven’t spoke to me since. I had grown up in that organisation my whole life so I felt as though I lost a huge part of myself.
I didn’t know what to think or do. It is scary when your thoughts are challenging everything you’ve grown up to believe.
The first person I told was a dear friend of mine, who despite being female, I have never crushed on. For some reason, one misconception that I used to hold was that because you like girls, you must like all girls. In time I discovered that everyone is unique and special but only a few can cause the heart to flutter and your knees to go like jelly.
I didn’t realise that I really had no interest in boys at all until a few years ago. Over these last few years my growth, sexuality wise, has skyrocketed. In many cases from getting hurt.
When I had my first crush, I had absolutely no idea what to do so I put my trust in someone and poured my feeling out to them. That person went and told the girl I had the crush on and since then the first crush has never really spoken to me again. I have no way of contacting her and it hurts.
Coming out to my parents was the scariest feeling ever! After much consultation with a close circle of friends, I sent an email to my parents. I chose this method because I didn’t want to see their faces when they rejected me and kicked me out which is what I had read in the material I had of what happens when you have christian parents. I was planning on how to live without family support.
My family surprised me and were accepting. My dad now likes to ask if I have a girlfriend yet whenever we speak.
I am still petrified living in a small town of telling my workmates and the families as I fear the outcome of what will happen. Fear sucks.
With the help of a beautiful and amazing friend, I found the courage to tell the woman I have a crush on currently. It won’t happen for now but I am thankful that she wasn’t angry or didn’t shun me like I was scared she would.
For now I can crush away. As I enter my 30s, I am fearful I will never meet the one and will never become a parent, however that will happen. With my close friends though, I am happy. They are accepting but I am still scared of being hurt.
My writing now doesn’t really include straight characters. It is funny how your writing evolves with you.
I still fear that I will die without someone to wake up to each morning but I think there is that glimmer of hope.
Social media has helped. My accounts help me vent and to connect. Social media can help.
I will continue to grow and become a stronger person. I will not be told that I can not be me. I will not be squashed, and nor will I fear burning in hell.
I am me. I am Nichole.